South Yorkshire Police chief David Crompton is to be grilled by MPs today over the handling of the search of Sir Cliff Richard’s home.
The Chief Constable has travelled to London to face questions from the Home Affairs Select Committee over how the BBC ended up being present when a team of his officers raided the legendary pop star’s Berkshire home following an allegation that he sexually abused a boy in Sheffield in 1985.
The director general of the BBC, Lord Tony Hall, is also to be quizzed over the role of his journalists involved in reporting the police search.
Sir Cliff’s apartment was searched by officers from South Yorkshire and Thames Valley Police last month as part of an investigation into an alleged sexual assault on a young boy at a religious gathering at Bramall Lane 1985.
A BBC crew reportedly arrived on the scene before the police.
Committee chairman Keith Vaz has already written to Mr Crompton and Lord Hall asking a series of questions about how the BBC found out about the planned search.
He asked Lord Hall how and when the broadcaster discovered the plan, when they first contacted South Yorkshire Police and whether the force had confirmed the time and date of the search.
The Director General was also pressed to explain when he first knew about the planned coverage of the search, who authorised use of the broadcaster’s helicopter to film it, why the police have complained to the BBC and whether he believes any BBC journalist acted inappropriately.
Mr Crompton has been asked to detail who in the force knew about the search and who else might have found out; when he and the force’s press team were made aware; how many times the force had confirmed the time of a search to journalists; and whether the search had been delayed or brought forward.
He has also been asked whether he believes any officer has acted inappropriately, why the force had complained to the BBC, when the broadcaster asked for more information about the search and what agreement was in place about reports of the process.
Sir Cliff, who was in Portugal when the search took place, denies any wrongdoing.
He has been interviewed under caution by police, but not arrested or charged.
Mr Crompton has already said that his force was approached by a BBC journalist with detailed information about its investigation, and ‘reluctantly’ the reporter was given notice of the planned search to dissuade the corporation from publishing details in advance.